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Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School

26 October 2023

The Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School is a programme for Year 13 students who are keen to study Astronomy or Physics at university. Applications have now closed. 


The Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School is a programme for Year 13 students interested in studying Astronomy or Physics at university.

The programme consists of a mix of seminars and practical work. Students will travel to UC's Mt John Observatory at Takapō | Tekapo and explore our cosmic neighbourhood with modern astronomical instruments.

Back at the University of Canterbury, they'll learn about the universe past, present and future, the life cycles of stars, planet exploration, extraterrestrial life and more.

A highlight of the programme is meeting fellow students with the same astronomical interests and making new friends.

Key details

Places are limited to 20 participants each year. Applications from Year 13 students are favoured, but we will consider applications from exceptional Year 12 students.

Cost: There are no costs for the camp, as the camp is generously funded by a donation from a private sponsor.

Transport costs: Transport costs to and from Christchurch are included in the sponsorship (there is no cost to successful applicants).

Accommodation: Students will stay in Halls of Residence during their stay in Christchurch and will stay for 2 nights in Tekapo to visit the University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory.

Eligibility: Acceptance is based on an online written application from students and NCEA Physics and Maths results

Key dates

  • Applications are now closed
  • Camp dates: 14 - 19 April 2024


Thanks to a generous donation from a private sponsor, the Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School is offered free of charge. Accommodation, meals, transport during the camp and materials are provided. It is recommended that students bring along additional spending money for any snacks, souvenirs and the like.


As the University of Canterbury is responsible for the health and safety of the participants, students may not travel off campus or away from the group unless accompanied by a postgraduate student or staff member.

All students must follow any rules and instructions given to them by designated staff and postgraduate students.


The University will arrange return flight/bus bookings and airport pickups for attendees from out of town. Airport pick-ups will be arranged in groups. For local attendees, drop-offs to UC should be arranged so participants can arrive by 12pm on the first day.

All travel and accommodation arrangements will be confirmed with successful applicants.


For further information and enquiries please contact:

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